Top five places to see rabbits

If you've read all about the secret life of rabbits in our May issue and fancy spotting some for yourself, why not try one of our top five lagomorph locations? 

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Rabbits can be found in a vast number of quiet retreats dotted all across the UK and with an estimated 38 million of them now residing here, that should come as no surprise. These lively creates have such an important and vital role in the ecological makeup of the landscape and are responsible for inspiring some of the most iconic literary characters produced on these isles, from classics such as The Tale of Peter Rabbit and Watership Down.

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We’ve compiled five of the best locations you can visit for stunning scenery, rich history, varied wildlife and who knows, maybe even a rabbit or two.

The Lizard, Cornwall

The Lizard, situated in Cornwall, sits on the UK’s most southerly point. Cornered on all sides by water (the English Channel to the South, East and West, and the River Helford across the North), Lizard is connected to mainland Cornwall by only a small land bridge. There are all manner of things to see and do here, boasting both stunning natural beauty and a huge range of wildlife, and enough activities to last more than a long weekend. The rabbits are in abundance, too! You can find them across much of the turfed areas throughout the region, particularly near the famous Lizard Wireless Station where the ground is said to be ‘rabbit-cropped’.

Dawlish Warren, Devon

On the coast and at the heart of South Devon lies Dawlish Warren, a 500 acre nature reserve stretched across 1½ miles of beachfront. The Warren is home to over 600 types of flowering plant, and from August to March, becomes a vital resting place for 23,000 wildfowl and wading birds, so much so that the area’s wildlife is protected by national and international law. Across the acres of lush grassland (and occasionally amongst the dunes) you can find hundreds of rabbits, peacefully enjoying the warm weather and perfect green vegetation.

Kenwood House, Hampstead Heath, London

An English Heritage property, Kenwood house sits in one corner of the 800 acres of Hampstead Heath. Brimming with wildlife (especially in the Autumn) you’ll find a host of creatures to see, incudcing chaffinches, parakeets, grey qquirrels and of course, rabbits. The environment is ideal for them, with drier soils in the upper part of the heath which makes it especially easy for them to burrow and create their homes.

Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria

Much like the North Wessex Downs, Bowness-on-Windermere is another spiritual home to one particularly special creature – Peter Rabbit. Sitting neatly on Lake Windermere, the jaw-dropping scenery of the Lake District is worthy of any visit, with rolling hills, stunning gardens and plenty of ways to get on the water, too. Bowness itself contains the Beatrix Potter museum, complete with a marvellously crafted Peter Rabbit garden, and just a short cross-lake shuttle across to the West we have Hill Top, the home of Beatrix Potter herself. For a more comprehensive look at the delights The Lake District can offer, see our article here: http://www.countryfile.com/countryside/finding-inspiration-lake-district

The North Wessex Downs (Watership Down), Hampshire

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No list such as this would be complete without the iconic home of the rabbit – Watership Down – inspired by the North Wessex Downs, an area of outstanding natural beauty. Whether you’re walking or cycling, the landscape and atmosphere of the tranquil woodland, chalk streams and chalk grass plains of Watts Bank make excellent exploring for all. Home to hares and rabbits, the Downs are a fantastic location to experience the natural splendour beautifully described in Richard Adams’ classic novel. Visit our page on exploring the region here: http://www.countryfile.com/days-out/watership-down-hampshire